SILVER Service

A QUICK XD FALCON RESTO TO REPLACE ANTHONY CARUANA’S BELOVED FIRST CAR SOMEHOW TURNED INTO THIS SHOW-QUALITY CRUISER

STORY TAS MCMLLAN PHOTOS ALASTAIR BROOK

IT WILL come as a surprise to no one that the build on Anthony Caruana’s sweet XD Falcon kicked off with a far tamer result in mind.

“It was supposed to be a quick rust repair and jam job, but it got out of hand after we went to MotorEx Melbourne a few years ago, says Anthony. Soon, the initial budget was thrown in the bin and the XD went from stock S-Pack to the arrow-straight, dark silver cruiser it is now.

Anthony’s had a bit of a thing for the boxy lines of the XD since he was a young fella. “When I was 18, Dad gave me an XD for my first car, he says. “In 2000 I stupidly got rid of it for a VT Executive because I wanted electric windows and air con that worked, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since! About five years ago my wife got sick of me whinging about it and said: ‘I’ll buy you a car if you shut up!’ The next day I picked up this XD.

It must have been fate, because Anthony discovered the car just around the corner from his home. “It was a one-owner, 250 S-Pack. I ended up paying exactly the same amount for it that I sold my first one for!” he says.

The car was trucked to the guys at Hightrax Restorations, who soon had it blasted bare and mounted to a rotisserie. Thankfully it hadn’t suffered much of the rust that tends to plague 80s Fords, but Tommy from EZ Customs was called in to perform surgery on the few areas afflicted by the dreaded tinworm. Over its three-year stay at Hightrax, the boys transformed Anthony’s dream of a super-schmick XD into a reality. I’m pretty sure you could check rulers for straightness against those Magnetic Grey panels!

“It looks exactly how I wanted it to, Anthony says.

It may surprise you to learn that this XD’s on the gas. No, not nitrous oxide – LPG! An Impco 425 mixer bolted to a Holley four-barrel base plate feeds the Clevo with the correct amount of flammable vapour. Supplying the mixer is an Impco B2 converter that’s stealthily concealed under the back of the air cleaner, and all the plumbing runs through the chassis.

“My mate Aaron built this set-up for his XC, says Anthony. “I told him I wanted the same thing and he said: ‘Here are the parts, go for it!’ People can’t even tell it’s on gas – when it went for the roadworthy the bloke had to redo all the paperwork because he thought it was on petrol.

IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A QUICK RUST REPAIR AND JAM JOB, BUT IT GOT OUT OF HAND AFTER WE WENT TO MOTOREX A FEW YEARS AGO

Sunbury Cylinder Heads bolted together a bottom end that’s all stock 302 Clevo, along with stock 2V heads that have been rebuilt with LPG in mind, and a gas-friendly bumpstick. The burnt stuff is carried away from the engine by Pacemaker extractors and a twin 2.25-inch stainless system that dumps behind the passenger side of the rear bar. Behind the baby Clevo is a C10 with a 2700rpm converter, and the 3.45:1 LSD diff was pinched out of an XH XR6.

It’s hard to ignore that mega-shiny CVF Racing billet serpentine system taking pride of place on the front of the motor. “I looked at the March kit when I bought the car and decided it was too pricey, but I ended up paying even more for the CVF set-up, Anthony says. Still, it does mean that after 18 years Anthony finally has air con in his XD!

However, there’s more to keeping the occupants comfy than just ice-cold a/c. Though they look like ESP Scheels at first glance, the front seats are actually ED XR8 items that have been retrimmed in ESP fabric by Global Trim in Wodonga, as was the XD Fairmont rear pew. Tommy from EZ Customs was given free rein when it came time to add some tunes, so he built an inconspicuous all-Alpine sound system. The boot remains surprisingly roomy, considering there’s a gas tank and audio gear in there. While seats and stereo were being sorted, the rest of the interior trim was taken care of by DWP Motor Trimming.

ANTHONY

CARUANA

1980 FORD XD

S-PACK

Paint: Axalta Cromax

Pro Magnetic Grey

ENGINE

Brand: Ford Cleveland

Capacity: 302

Induction: Impco

B2 converter, Impco

425 mixer, Weiand

X-CELerator manifold

Heads: 2V

Camshaft: Mild

Conrods: Stock

Pistons: Stock

Crank: Stock

Oil pump: Stock

Cooling: Re-cored XD radiator, FG fan

Exhaust: Pacemakertri-Ys, twin 2.25in stainless system

Ignition: Bosch coil,

MSD dizzy, ICE leads

TRANSMISSION

Gearbox: C10

Converter: 2700rpm

Diff: XH XR6 LSD,

3.45:1 gears

SUSPENSION

& BRAKES

Front: King springs,

Gabriel shocks

Rear: Reset leaves,

Gabriel shocks

Brakes: Ultra

Performance

Components discs (f), stock XH discs (r)

Master cylinder: Stock

WHEELS & TYRES

Rims: Boyd Coddington unkyard Dog; 18x7 (f), 18x8 (r)

Rubber: Sailun

Atrezzo; 215/40/18 (f), 245/40/18 (r)

THANKS

My wife Jessica and the kids; George, David and Mark Notas at Hightrax; Aaron Bugeja for everything involved in the build; Tom Palonek at EZ Customs; David Pinner at DWP Motor Trimming; Ben Boudroukas at Global Trim; Braeden Kendrick at Fast Track Towing; Brian Streitberger, Chris Rae and Alan Cameron; everyone else who was involved in the build

PEOPLE CAN’T EVEN TELL IT’S ON GAS – WHEN IT WENT FOR THE ROADWORTHY THE BLOKE HAD TO REDO THE PAPERWORK BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT WAS ON PETROL

With six months to go to MotorEx 2018, everyone pulled out all the stops to get the XD ready for display.

“All the boys put a lot of work into it to make MotorEx, says Anthony. “We didn’t win any awards, but it’s just a cruiser, not a full-blown SMOTY build.

The XD isn’t going to see much street time until after Anthony takes it to Summernats, but after that it’ll be out for regular cruising.

“I just want to jump in it with my wife and kids to go get ice creams – we won’t be eating them in the car, though!”